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By Katie Neitz

October is Campus Sustainability Month and National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which makes it fitting that tomorrow,  the Office of Sustainability will host an electronics recycling event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Pardee Circle.

Accepted items include computers, laptops, mobile phones/ devices, networking equipment – routers, switches, modems, access points, servers, power cords and cables, laptop batteries (lithium-ion), and lead-acid batteries.

As laptops, phones, tablets—and the power cables that come with all of them—fully infiltrate our lives, e-waste has become a growing concern.

There is the environment to consider: Tons of electronics are disposed of each year, and old devices often end up in landfills.

“Most of the materials in a computer are recyclable—plastic and metals like gold, silver, and copper,” says Chris Koch, ITS’ director of user services. “But some components, like lead and mercury, should be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way.”

There is also a cybersecurity risk. Many electronic devices store valuable, confidential information that could pose a data threat if they fell into the hands of a cybercriminal.

“Deleting data on a hard drive offers very little data security protection,” Koch says. “Files moved to the ‘trash’ can be fully/partially recovered with software available on the internet. Digital shredding is a more secure way to remove data.”

For both environmental and data-security reasons, it’s important to responsibly recycle electronic devices so that potentially hazardous materials and data destruction are handled professionally.

The Office of Sustainability is partnering with AERC Recycling Solutions, a nationally regulated electronics waste recycler that offers data shredding on computers. The office will host a larger recycling event in April as part of Earth Week activities.

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